Putting Up A Front: Making Your Retail Business Work For You!

store-owner

When it comes to making your retail environment appealing, there are many factors to consider. From the store layout being as appealing as possible to the marketing, all the way down to the staff and how they present themselves, you have to make sure that as a unit, that the business is pulling together in one direction instead of many separate ones. In a typical retail scenario, there is a broad range of ages and experiences working together. This can cause friction and office politics. Let’s have a look at some of the ways a retail setup can make itself run more efficiently.

 

THE SPACE

As well as location, for a retail store to maximize its potential, size is a factor. For a small to medium sized store, your cash register needs to be a focal point. Making this a focal point with a manned member of staff gives the store a (human) face. When it comes to making the most of your limited space, keep your stations at right angles will help customers to move around easier. In addition to this, making sure you have your cash register credit card ready, so payments can be processed. A lot of small businesses only accept cash, and this is frustrating for the customer as they may not be aware of this before coming into the shop.

Another factor about the shop space is to ensure that there is enough security. As you will have customers coming and going constantly, you need to be making sure that you have adequately heavy doors or automatic doors. Also, make sure that you have a good security system installed. Alarms and security cameras are an essential tool when it comes to prosecuting thieves.

 

THE ADVERTISING

Advertising your products take two forms. The interior and exterior of your store, and your marketing, which can be on billboards, posters, or on any kind of media.

Inside the store, use the space to your advantage by putting displays up in the corners. Using brackets to raise the display is a good way of achieving this. Based on what your store sells, making where your items are appealing to the eye will do half the job of selling for you. Keeping the appearance of your shop fresh with window displays changed regularly is one way. You can use the displays to highlight new stock. Click here for ideas on making your exterior stand out.

Having an online appearance is very important too. Using social media to encourage the message further by creating memes, or short videos can cause an impact if presented correctly. The power of sharing and store pages on the internet will help the store take off. Having a memorable brand and slogan will stick in a customer’s mind more than just the items in the store.

Using marketing like radio adverts is a way to entice locals. Using hospital radio, or a local radio station will help keep people interested and dedicated if you are trying to advertise a rustic or quaint image.

 

THE CUSTOMER SERVICE

When it comes to customer service, it covers many things. But having a core set of skills are needed when staff is faced with a customer, whether over the phone or in person. Having these skills will make staff approachable and friendly. So, implementing these core skills are a must for an efficient workforce.

Patience

A skill that is absolutely essential when working to liaise with customers! You will encounter many customers that are frustrated and possibly confused. Having a calm and patient temperament will help staff members when they serve customers. Customers would rather you deliver excellent service over fast service. So, working to get them seen to really quickly before hurrying them out the door will only frustrate them.

Communication Skills

This covers many little aspects, from your choice of wording to your tone of voice. When it comes to speaking to customers face to face, use positive body language. Maintaining eye contact and a smile can help to alleviate customers’ negative preconceptions on a subconscious level.

When staff speaks to a customer, there are words that can set alarms off in their heads. If you have solved a query and after they thank you, saying “no problem” could leave a customer negatively affected. Use direct language, instead of ambiguous terms to confuse the customer. In a shop environment, sometimes there are customers who speak a foreign language. Do you have bilingual staff members? Speaking to a customer in their native tongue will go a long way to improving customer-staff relations.

Product Knowledge

The one thing you cannot stumble through when facing a customer is the product itself. If you are in a specialist technical store discussing camera lenses or are working in a golf store, staff need to be sure of what they are speaking about. What if a customer comes to you with a problem with their product and you’re not able to help them through it? It isn’t just poor customer service, but it reflects badly on the store too.

Time Management Skills

When selling an item, staff have a time limit. It is from the opening of the store to the close of business. Learning to utilize that time correctly in the store’s trading hours is a key skill, as the role of staff is to sell the products and the business. So, make sure that staff spends a good amount of time with a customer. It is also worth noting when to understand if a customer cannot be helped, so another member of the team can come to help. The time after the customer has left the store is an important time too. Getting feedback on the customer service is a great method to fine-tune minor issues. When making a successful sale, customer follow-ups will show that the business values their custom. Having a draft email questionnaire ready, or you can make a quick phone call the customer to get their opinions. It is great market research, so you can improve the relationship between the store and the customer.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that grow their businesses. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog, Entrepreneur-Resources.net.

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